How Does Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Affect My Traffic Case In Virginia?
The current outbreak of the Covid-19 virus (or Coronavirus) is a pandemic that has now infected every country in the world. Every sector of the economy, and almost every aspect of normal life, has been altered. We here at Weiland Upton, PLC – Attorneys at Law have spent the past couple of weeks fielding questions from both our current clients and potential new clients about what effect this unprecedented situation means for each individual’s case.
The Coronavirus has upended Virginia’s criminal justice system. Many courthouses handle several hundred matters every day. The hallways are generally packed with defendants, witnesses, police officers, lawyers, and loved ones. It is no wonder the VA Supreme Court announced on March 19 that courts would essentially be shut down for almost all traffic and criminal cases until April 6. On Friday March 27, the Court extended this hiatus until April 26. All cases during this time (except for certain urgent matters) would be continued to a future date. Governor Northam announced on Monday March 31, that a statewide Stay at Home Order would be in effect until June 10, with a possibility of a Class 1 Misdemeanor charge for those found to be in violation.
With the current uncertainty surrounding the outbreak, and how long state-wide quarantines will last, it is no wonder many clients have questions regarding their upcoming court dates. I hope to alleviate some of that stress and uncertainty here.
First and foremost, all current clients will have the status of their cases monitored by our attorneys and support staff. If the case is continued due to the outbreak, we will track the case until is eventually disposed of. In some situations, we have been able to negotiate favorable outcomes, using the court closures as grounds for these otherwise impossible results.
If your case is a more serious criminal matter, and you have an upcoming arraignment, we can contact the court and determine whether your appearance can be waived until the eventual trial date so as to not needlessly expose you to the possibility of contracting the virus. Our attorneys can also determine whether our clients need to be present at all for any of their upcoming court dates.
For cases where community service has been recommended (or required by the judge), there are legitimate concerns about completing these hours during these times of quarantine. The attorneys at this firm will be sure to argue to the judge the difficulty (if not impossibility) of completing these hours due to the outbreak. This is a scenario no one could have predicted, and judges are meant to be fair and just arbiters in the courtroom. We will fight to make sure every client has the chance of receiving equal justice.
There are many cases where driving school has either been recommended by our attorneys, or has been required by the judge. Our firm can recommend both an 8-hour driver improvement course, as well as a 12-hour aggressive driver improvement course, both of which can be completed online. This allows our clients to complete the necessary court-approved courses, while not having to leave the comfort (and safety) of the their homes.
If you are charged with a serious traffic matter or criminal case, call Weiland Upton, PLC – Attorneys at Law at 804-355-8037 and we will be happy to give you a free consultation, as well as answer any further questions you may have about how Covid-19 affects your case.